Hello all! When this goes online, I will be sitting my entrance exam to History at University, so wish me luck!
“He is the kind of man, indeed, to whom I should never dare refuse anything which he condescended to ask.”
– Mr Bennet, Pride and Prejudice Volume III, Chapter 17
It had never occurred to Fitzwilliam Darcy that, once he had chosen a bride, her father might dare to refuse his consent. When his dearest, loveliest Elizabeth is taken from him with only a curt note of explanation, he determines that, far from accepting her father’s rejection of his suit, he must instead find her again and make his case. After all, a woman worthy of being pleased is also worth fighting for.
Several months shy of her majority, it is not so simple a thing to defy Mr Bennet’s will, but Elizabeth, for the sake of her future happiness, must try. With various allies in her corner, as well as foes standing against her, Elizabeth’s courage must rise against all attempts at intimidation. Even from her own, much beloved father.
The Prologue had me caught within a page! The Meryton Assembly, and instead of an insult, Darcy and Elizabeth run into each other arms! I was shrieking with happiness and shock! But the best form of shock! As I read about the visit to Pemberley, – Elizabeth and her aunt and uncle Gardiner visit Pemberley and meets Darcy and omg, I nearly died right there and then!
As I was reading, about the summer in Derbyshire, I fell in love with the book. Reading about Darcy and Elizabeth falling in love with each other, was the best feeling ever. And when Mr Bennet appeared in Derbyshire, I nearly threw my kindle across the room, in a fit of anger and frustration!
And the one thing which made my jaw hit the floor was when Mr Bennet tells Darcy, “Elizabeth is already engaged these fifteen years!” I think these words nearly shocked me into a shriek of “WHAT!?!” But Darcy is summarily refused by Mr Bennet!! I will let you guess who Elizabeth’s betrothed is, and I dare say, you will not like it! And what you will like even less is what Mr Bennet allows his betrothed to do to Elizabeth! I was beyond furious when I read it.
But the continued sneaking around by Darcy and Elizabeth had me sighing with delight. There was a special scene, that seriously reminded me of “Somewhere in time”, the scene between Elise and Richard (Search on youtube “Somewhere in time – Richard and Elise reunited” that was the scene I saw in my head just with Darcy and Elizabeth! And I wept like a child! And I loved it!
But on a side note, for the first or maybe the second time, my respect for Mrs Bennet rose a LOT! Normally, I like Mr Bennet just fine, but this around, well, let’s say that I wanted to kick his arse more or less until 90% through the book, so Mary has written a book she can be very proud of! I was very much impressed and loved the romance between Darcy and Elizabeth, they have become my new favourite! Well done Mary!
Mary Smythe is a homemaker living in South Carolina with a rather useless BA in English collecting dust in a closet somewhere. Mrs Smythe discovered the works of Jane Austen as a teenager thanks to the 1995 BBC Pride and Prejudice miniseries featuring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle and has since gone on to read everything written by Ms Austen at least once yearly, always wishing that there were more. She has been writing since 2001, but only discovered Jane Austen Fanfiction in the summer of 2018. Dare to Refuse Such a Man is the first full-length novel she has ever completed, though she can boast a few shorter works in her library, as well.
Hello All, wow three times this week have I posted something here from my desk! That’s a record of sorts! So, I will welcome a new author, who I hope to work with further in the future; Christine Combe!
Greetings, fellow Austenians! First I’d like to thank Sophia for having me here today. I’m so excited to be visiting Interests of a Jane Austen Girl to talk about my upcoming release “Choice and Consequence“, the second book in my What Might Have Been series.
The timeline of this book starts at near the same point as the original. But instead of meeting at the Meryton assembly, Elizabeth and Darcy first meet accidentally at Oakham Mount one morning and have a brief but pleasant conversation. And although each was intrigued by the other, they don’t meet again until the assembly—where Elizabeth overhears Darcy make that unkind remark about her. He means it only as a joke to stop Bingley teasing him about his interest in the second Bennet daughter, and is able to apologize the next day after rescuing Elizabeth during a thunderstorm. After a heart-to-heart about all the reasons they shouldn’t become attached, they choose to be friends…but neither discounts the possibility of something more.
Of course, their feelings do grow by the time of the Netherfield Ball, where Darcy asks Elizabeth to consent to courtship. But the sudden appearance of Wickham—who Darcy believes to have attacked his sister (an event that happened in book one)—is only the first of a series of outside influences that keep driving them apart…
**In this scene, Elizabeth has been speaking to Charlotte about the latter’s own plans for the future, when Darcy comes upon them.**
“Good morning, Mr. Darcy,” she greeted him. “I did not expect you until after breakfast, at least.”
“Good morning, Miss Elizabeth. Miss Lucas,” said he as he dismounted his horse. “Such was my intention, as I said to you last evening, but I am afraid a matter of some urgency has arisen that shall take me to London this very day. I could not go without keeping my word of calling on you, though my visit must regrettably be brief.”
At those words, Charlotte touched her arm. “Lizzy, I will go into the house and visit with Jane,” she said, and turned away.
She and Darcy should not be left alone, but Elizabeth was grateful to have a private moment. Besides, chances were one or more of her sisters—or even Charlotte—would be watching them through a window.
When she had gone far enough away, Elizabeth said, “Has this urgent matter anything to do with that incident which took you from the ballroom for a time?”
Darcy nodded, his expression grave. “Yes, that is a part of it, though in truth the matter goes much deeper. I cannot say more at this time—not because I do not wish to, nor is it because I do not trust you. It is simply a very painful matter and I would not burden you with my sorrows. I have not the right.”
She reached for the hand not holding Diamond’s reins and held it between both of hers. “Sir, if nothing else we are friends,” Elizabeth began. “For that reason alone, I would be glad to share your burdens if it would give you any relief from them. That is what a true friend does. But we are more than friends, or were on the way to being more; if you have changed your mind—”
He lifted their joined hands to his lips and pressed a light kiss to the back of hers. “I have done no such thing.”
“Then I would have you lessen your pain by sharing it with me, if you trust me enough with your secrets,” she replied. “I will not be offended if you do not, though I must tell you I shall be very much concerned for you.”
This teased a smile from him. “And I shall be grateful for it. I do not know that I can tell you everything just now, for this seems hardly the time or place to go about it, but perhaps a moment may be taken upon my return.”
“Do you think to return soon?”
Darcy sighed. “I would very much like to be back in Hertfordshire this night, though it may not be possible. The plan is then to return first thing Monday, but given the nature of my business, Colonel Fitzwilliam and I may be gone from the country for some time.”
“Very well,” said Elizabeth, doing her best to conceal her disappointment.
“I shall send word by express if indeed we will be away longer than two days,” Darcy said then. “I hate that this is happening now, when I have just asked if I may court you—it seems as though I am merely using it as an excuse to go back on my word, and I promise you I am not.”
Elizabeth smiled. “If I believed that about you, or even suspected it, I should likely have turned away in an indignant huff by now,” she said. “However, as I believe you to be a man of honor, I will only say that I pray your business is soon concluded, that we may begin where we leave off.”
“I shall pray it also, for that reason and others,” Darcy replied. He then looked into her eyes with so intense an emotion in his own that she thought for a moment he might kiss her.
“How I long to kiss you now, as a symbol of my fidelity,” he said in a low voice, echoing her thoughts. “But I am afraid your two youngest sisters are watching us from what I believe is the dining room window.”
Elizabeth looked over her shoulder. Indeed, Kitty and Lydia were blatantly staring from the dining room, laughing and pointing as she took notice of them. She poked her tongue at them, which sent them into a laughing fit, before she turned back to Darcy and said, “Let them watch. I find that I very much want that symbol of your fidelity.”
His eyes widened a fraction and his breath quickened before he raised a hand to cup her cheek, then lowered his head and touched his lips to hers. His mouth was warm, his breath almost hot, and before the pleasure of her very first kiss had fully registered, Darcy broke contact and stepped back.
“I had better go, before reason is lost and I kiss you again,” he said, his voice husky.
Elizabeth nodded, then said shakily, “I wish you did not have to go.”
He turned and lifted himself into Diamond’s saddle. “As do I, Elizabeth. As do I,” he said, before turning the horse and urging him into a canter.
Once again, I’d like to thank Sophia for letting me take over the blog today. I hope everyone is intrigued by this snippet and looking forward to more. Choice and Consequence is now available for pre-order on Amazon and will publish May 5th!
Thank you, Christine for introducing your new and upcoming book, the second in your “What might have been” series, we are all intrigued and can’t wait for this book to publish so we can read it.
Hello all, does that just sound good or what? I certainly think so, and can’t wait to get my hands on this series, I definitely intend to buy this series soon! On a side note, my post from yesterday (11th of April) with Gianna Thomas, please enter valid emails so we can contact you if you win a copy of the book. I believe this is where I will leave you all for now, dear readers! I hope to return soon with another review, introduction to a new book or maybe even a podcast at some point, since I have been thinking about that. So for now, see you soon. From the desk of Interest of a Jane Austen Girl.
Hello all, and welcome back yet again to the desk of Interests of a Jane Austen Girl.
Excerpt from Darcy Vs Wickham
Bidding Georgiana good morning with her studies and practice of the pianoforte, Darcy and Elizabeth left through the terrace doors, enjoyed Lady Anne Darcy’s rose garden, and then headed onto one of the numerous trails through the woods that covered the hill behind Pemberley’s main house. Filled with a variety of plants and trees, as well as wildlife, the couple thoroughly enjoyed their rambles during warm weather. Occasionally they spotted deer, grey squirrels, hedgehogs, the occasional badger, and numerous rabbits along with a few of the larger hares. Adding to their delight were numerous species of birds that included hawks and owls, and they also had the jaw-dropping distinction of seeing a large eagle owl carry away an adult fox as prey.
Among the deer population there was a nine-foot stag, whose height was attained from hoof to the tip of his highest antler point, who always intrigued the Darcys when he was sighted, which was rarely. Amazingly, he was not afraid of them and would remain in the area if they seated themselves on a large rock and were silent for a time. The wildlife around Pemberley pleased Elizabeth as they reminded her of the land of Longbourn, her family’s home, which she still missed a little bit. And the hills around Pemberley made up for her lack of an Oakham Mount that she occasionally yearned for.
The glorious array of flowers they saw on their walks never disappointed her either. White Lilies of the Valley and yellow Cowslips were just a few of the delights to the eye. She could never get her fill of their beauty. But the large carpet of Bluebells that disappeared into the woods took her breath away each time she saw it.
After five months of marriage and being ensconced as the mistress of Pemberley, Elizabeth Darcy felt this was now home. Of course, wherever Will was residing was agreeable with her so long as she was there as well.
Georgiana, her sister-in-law, was a younger woman of sixteen years who was always welcomed with her and her husband. When they traveled, she accompanied them. As her and her brother’s parents had died, Georgie was beloved and encouraged to be with them until she married, which all hoped was not for a few years. She would come out around the age of eighteen, but Darcy would not allow just any suitor for his lovely sister. He and his cousin, Richard Fitzwilliam, were guardians of his sibling, and both were very protective of her and leery of the time when she would be courted. No one would be allowed who was of questionable character. In fact, the man would have to be perfect according to Darcy and Richard. Elizabeth had laughed when she heard that declaration. But she also joined the two cousins in protecting Georgiana just as assiduously as they did.
Today, Georgiana declined to walk with them as she and Mrs. Annesley, her companion and governess, were off to Lambton and Kympton to seek a couple of novels and a bonnet to go with her new dress. They left immediately after breaking their fast which suited Will and Elizabeth. This would allow them time alone and the ability to walk to the pond where the Grotto was found. It also afforded them some privacy to indulge in a little love making before they started their day with necessary tasks.
The man on a ridge across the valley from the manor house raised his spyglass in interest as he saw the woman with Darcy lift her skirts above her ankles and sprint away from her husband as Darcy observed her and then ran after her. The man grinned as he delighted in the free spirit she showed and wondered how it would be to enjoy her charms. Then he frowned as he heard the slight ripple of laughter coming from the couple as Darcy caught up with her, picked her up in his arms and twirled her around, and then disappeared with her toward the Grotto deeper in the woods.
After he could no longer see them, he stepped out from behind the tree and glared at the last place the couple had been spotted. He hated the idea that Darcy would ever find a woman who could make him happy. In fact, he despised Darcy and continued to do so because of all that the man had that HE had always wanted and felt was his…even for the taking if necessary. His father was content working for George Darcy, but he would never be content working for someone else. He wanted it all—including the woman—no matter what he had to do to get it.
Today I am visited by an author who I have followed for quite some years, and read most of her works, especially her “VS” series within the Pride and Prejudice world. Gianna have been so kind as to answer some of my more curious questions about her work, her books and her opinions on the author who began it all, namely Miss Jane Austen.
How did you get your idea for your VS series? I got an idea for Darcy vs Bingley that I had to write that would include a comeuppance for Caroline Bingley. (I really dislike her.) That one I posted on Fanfiction.net and the readers really liked it. That book, along with Darcy chooses, has sold the best of any of my other books. Somewhere down the line I wondered about doing one concering Lady Catherine and proceeded to write Darcy vs Lady Catherine as a mystery. Last year I couldn’t resist doing Darcy vs Elizabeth where he is more rude than usual, and Elizabeth really gives him a run for his money. But I couldn’t stop there, so this year I published Darcy vs Wickham. Does the Versus Series end with that one? Probably not as I’m getting ideas for Darcy vs Mrs. Bennet. Would love to do a Darcy vs Mr. Bennet but another author has already done that one, so I won’t intrude on her title.
Did you ever imagine writing a series when you started the first VS book? Not at first, but I had already done the Four Lords’ Saga Series, so making a Versus series was kind of the next step.
How come that it seems like Darcy is dead in the newest book??? Who says he isn’t dead, Sophia? 🙂 My latest has a bunch of twists and turns that make it a bit different from all my other books. It is a novella that can be read in about three hours or less, and I hope it keeps the readers on the edge of their seat the entire time.
How come Elizabeth isn’t aware of Wickham’s true character in the newest book? Shouldn’t she be aware before she married Darcy and the whole debacle with Lydia? This is not a sequel to Pride and Prejudice and Elizabeth never met Wickham, Ramsgate never occurred, and Wickham never came to Meryton with the militia. Although I didn’t specify that information, it is basically shown in the conversations, particularly with Georgiana and Mrs. Reynolds. Because you asked this, I’ve added the following to the beginning of the blurb on Amazon: Suppose Elizabeth never met George Wickham before she married Darcy, and Ramsgate never occurred. That sets the stage a bit better than what I originally had. Thank you for inquiring about that.
What do you believe Miss Austen originally meant to convey with her books? Basically, I think she wanted to tell stories. However, she was such a sharp cookie about people and their personalities, as well as society in general, I think she included the type of people she met every day. I have read only Pride and Prejudice before falling in love with the P&P variations, but I suspect that she might have referred to the nobility or royalty but not in detail as they would not be persons she would ordinarily associate with. Her father being a clergyman, they would not even be gentry as the Bennets were.
Do you have a favourite Austen (P&P) variation book? Oh, that is a hard question to answer. I have well over +1,000 variations in my Kindle account and have enjoyed many of them immensely. It would be easier for me to tell you of my favorite P&P variation authors, and they are; J. Dawn King and her daughter Jennifer Joy. I love their books, and both are exceptionally good P&P writers. Jennifer also excels in the area of mysteries as well.
What first drew you to Austen and her world of Dashwoods, Elliotts, Bennet’s, Morlands and Woodhouses? Actually, I read Pride and Prejudice in my teens, and it was okay. I didn’t fall head over heels in love with it originally. But… in 2012, I ran across one of Abigail Reynolds’ P&P variations – I think it was “Force of Instinct” – and I was hooked. After reading about 200 of the variations, I had plots and premises running through my head. Since I had toyed with becoming an author, I began thinking about it more seriously and did Attending a Ball as a prequel to a novel that became Darcy chooses. The rest is history as I think I’m here to stay and am planning a new mystery series, “The Lord Paisley Mystery Series” by Millicent Jaffey. Yes, I will be doing another nome de plume as the genre will be Regency or Victorian mystery.
What do you believe have changed the most in the world today vs in Austen’s time? Medicine and women’s rights. Medicine has improved susbstanically from leeches and bleeding, two treatments that may have killed more people than saved them, especially the bleeding. Once the doctors learned to vigorously wash their hands before examining a pregnant woman, they quit killing most of them with childbed fever. Women today in many countries have, at least, a little protection legally whereas in the early 1800s, they had virtually no rights. Their husbands held all the power and could do just about anything to their wives, short of killing them, and some husbands even did that anyway in some cases.
What about the new ‘Lords’ series, what inspired you to writes these bad boy lords who reform? Because I love reading Regency Romance, I wanted to write about friends, who were also Lords, who would be sowing their wild oats but change their ways when they found decent women that they loved and were willing to settle down with and raise families. I also wanted to tackle some serious issues as well. Although the lords were involved for several years with indulging their baser instincts, they were not truly happy. They discovered they could find happiness with the women they fell in love with. But… they needed to make some changes before courting and marrying these wonderful ladies. One of the issues I dealt with was Corina who was nearly raped when she was only eight years old. Her brothers proceeded to teach her how to protect herself is she was ever assaulted again. Unfortunately, the experience had honed her instinct for survival to the point that she was dangerous to be around under certain circumstances, and she was capable of disarming and seriously injuring or killing any man who attacked her. So how was thelord who fell in love with her to feel safe if he ever married her? That’s just one of the stories.
As a budding writer myself I have a creative/silly question; when you write can you hear your characters in your head? It’s not a silly question, Sophia. I’m sure every author tackles each book, article, or whatever in different ways. My initial foray into writing was taking an hour’s worth of material and turning it into a five minute Bible talk. So, what I learned in the beginning was to put everything in a nutshell. In writing novels and novellas, I find that I’m doing the exact opposite; taking what’s in a nutshell and expanding it. So, it has been quite a learning experience for me because I have had no real training as an author. I started out as a pantser, literally flying by the seat of my pants, to where I am now. I have learned to do an outline of the book I’m currently writing and am finding that I can write faster and better for it. So that has been very beneficial and something I hadn’t expected from that one change. As to hearing my characters in my head, for me it is probably more that I take the role of each character and write dialogue accordingly. In other words, if I am Darcy in a certain situation or scenario, how would I react? What would I say? What would I do? And I think my favourite scene is the one in Darcy vs Bingley, where Caroline Bingley attempts to compromise Darcy, and Darcy proceeds to tell her how miserable her life will be if he has to marry her. For a time, at least, she decides she is better off not being leg-shackled to him.
Thank you, Gianna for answering my curious questions. It was wonderful to learn more of your writing, books and opinions.
Just before I end this post, Gianna, has been kind enough to offer a Giveaway. Gianna can only send the ebook to American Amazon holders, everyone else will receive a secured PDF file as the book. I will draw 3 winners on Friday, the 16th.
Gianna is offering three copies of ‘Darcy vs Wickham’ internationally. Kindle copy to winner in Amazon American market and PDF to winners in other markets.
So, that was the interview about Gianna Thomas and her books, Austen and her opinions. I hope you have all enjoyed it, it was certainly enjoyable to do. You can get Gianna Thomas books on Amazon and the other digital platforms. Please leave a comment, and I will see you all soon, back here at the desk of Interests of a Jane Austen Girl.
Hello All and welcome back to the desk of Interests of a Jane Austen Girl. Today I am reviewing “The Recovery of Fitzwilliam Darcy”
I have no notion who I am meant to be.
In 1789, a terrible crime is committed, plunging one family into grief as another rejoices at the gift of an unexpected son. Two decades later, a chance meeting leads to the discovery of the lost heir of Pemberley and the man who knew himself as Mr William Lucas is restored to his birthright as Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberley.
Discovering the truth about his past means leaving behind everyone and everything he has ever known and loved—including his childhood best friend and soon-to-be betrothed, Elizabeth Bennet. Tormented by questions about himself, and his place, Darcy struggles to understand and adapt to his changed identity and his new life. He must contend with a father buried in the shadows of the past and family relationships he does not understand.
The truth has come out. Some have gained by it, some have lost by it, and I am in the middle. I cannot possibly make everyone happy. No matter what I do, someone will suffer. No matter what I do, I shall suffer.
Somehow, he must find a way to do right by his new and old families, especially if he is to avoid losing Elizabeth forever.
REVIEW OF THE BOOK;
As I opened the book, I was ready to be delighted and surprised! Especially because of the title, which got me wondering, but as the book opens with Elizabeth Bennet walking around with William Lucas, my mind instantly screamed “IS THAT DARCY!?!” And yes it was Darcy! And the start of the book, WOW! What an opening sequence!
So, when a Darcy appeared as Mr. Bennet’s best friend, I was hopeful and yet a little worried and was I right to be worried!
Suddenly William was whisked to Derbyshire without a word of goodbye to any of the people he holds dear in Hertfordshire! And what a gigantic change for William, – he has to join two sides of him, the William Lucas he has grown up as, and the expected Fitzwilliam Darcy, heir and son.
Something which made me beyond sad was the fact that we do not get to meet Lady Anne Darcy!
I have to admit to disliking Mr. George Darcy at the beginning, but as the book developed, I understood why George Darcy acts as he does in the beginning, and even some of the Darcy relations threatens Darcy to keep his old life away from his new and proper life in accords to him being a Darcy! Gosh, I was ready to punch half the Darcy’s silly!
But finally out Fitzwilliam Darcy finds his feet after several months, where we see him in London society, which is just shy of being a disaster, since Darcy’s two male Darcy cousins are bad, and horrible – we are also presented to the Fitzwilliam cousins, the Viscount and Col. Fitzwilliam who is quite disliked by the Darcy’s apparently!
I was SO hoping that Darcy’s original first proposal wouldn’t appear, since they know each other so intimately already, but, of course, and I had to shake my head in hopelessness over how stupidly Darcy acts towards the woman he loves, even if I get why, but omg if I had been Elizabeth… So I can only praise Lucy for her way of writing Elizabeth in this particular scene!
FINALLY, oh Finally some happiness appears, and George and Fitzwilliam Darcy joins together and peace is restored between Darcy’s and Fitzwilliams, – and I am sure everyone can guess what happens to the bad people!
The family in Hertfordshire is visited and several scenes where Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth are walking together, where I both screamed at my book, “GET DOWN ON ONE KNEE DARCY!!” and at other times I just wrote it down as a note in my ebook, and where I just shook my head in frustration! But in the end I was laughing at the plot!
But FINALLY happiness is restored to our beloved couple! I sighed in contentment at that point! Something which hit me quite a lot, “there was something different in the way he looked at you and the tone of his voice. As soon as we returned to the inn, I asked about you. I knew immediately that for him to be happy, he needed you. You understand when I say that my most fervent wish is for my son’s happiness.” – This is said by George Darcy and I was quite sympathetic to him by this point, especially as our beloved couple are united!
So all in all, a well written and well created book, and world around the characters of P&P, so I can only congratulate Lucy Marin on another well done book!
ENTERING SOCIETY AS A YOUNG GENTLEMAN
In The Recovery of Fitzwilliam Darcy, Darcy has lived a quiet life as ‘William Lucas,’ most of it in Hertfordshire. Like the Bennet sisters (as far as we know from canon), this is the extent of his social experience—the assemblies and parties and so forth that take place within the Lucases’ circle. Mrs Bennet tells us in Pride & Prejudice that the Bennets dine with four-and-twenty families, and I choose to believe that the same was true for the Lucases even though they were not as well off as the Bennets. William’s life changes greatly when he is recognised as Fitzwilliam Darcy. All of a sudden, he is not the son of former innkeepers and the heir to a small estate; he is of noble birth and very wealthy. His father, George, wants him to take his proper place in society, to be recognised as his only son, with all the privilege that entails. As such, they go to London so that Fitzwilliam can be introduced to their social circle. In essence, Fitzwilliam is having his ‘come out,’
What does it mean for a young gentleman to have his coming out? Did such a thing even exist? Trying to find clear answers to these questions was a challenge. The focus was very much on young women entering society, signalling that they were of marriageable age. For some young ladies, this included being presented at court, where they made their curtesy to the queen. This was required to attend court functions, which, according to some sources, everyone who was anyone did at least once a year.
Young gentlemen were also presented at court. Daniel Pool, in What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew, talks about this typically happening after they left Oxford or Cambridge or “had outgrown the awkwardness of adolescence.” Men were presented at levees, at which they would make their bow to the king or his representative. These formal receptions, which typically took place in the afternoon, were held at St James’s Palace, just as were the queen’s drawing rooms at which young ladies were presented. Men had to wear buckle shoes, breeches, and a sword—a far less onerous and elaborate costume than that expected of women.
The rules for presentation were strict, with young ladies, and presumably young gentlemen, needing a sponsor to gain access to court. Mothers, mothers-in-law, or other female relatives would present women, and I assume fathers or male relatives would present the men. Persons of rank could be presented, of course, and others could be as well, as long as they had an appropriate sponsor, meaning someone who themselves had been presented at court. I did not include a scene of George presenting Fitzwilliam, but there are references to him dining with princes and dukes and meeting the Prince Regent, which imply that he has formally been made known to the royal family.
Presentations took place during the Season, which coincided with the sitting of Parliament. The Season was a way for the upper class to entertain themselves while they carried out their political duties, as well as a way for people to meet potential spouses. Robert Morrison, in The Regency Years, calls the Season “the social world of events that helped them stave off boredom.”
We know that after presentation, young ladies attended a great number of social events such as balls, parties, dinners, breakfasts, and so forth. This is all to help meet people, especially men who might want to marry them. We can assume that young men were likewise very busy, although some of their activities would be different. I tried to show in the book that Darcy was, in fact, very occupied going to any number of different events, sometimes with his father and often with his cousin John. It provides a way for Darcy to meet the people of his social sphere, a task he would have begun much sooner had he not been kidnapped. While a child, he would have met other boys of his age as his parents socialized with their parents and while at school and university. After university, he would have, in essence, had his ‘come out’. Since he did not have these opportunities previously, the time he spends in London in the novel makes up for it and represents his first Season.
In addition to balls, musical entertainments, and the like, men might belong to a variety of clubs, including ones revolving around card playing, and they would partake in sporting activities, as a spectator or participant. Boxing was very popular, and fashionable young gentlemen might attend one of the London schools operated by famous pugilists. A scene that didn’t make it into The Recovery of Fitzwilliam Darcy involved Darcy and John together at a boxing match. These matches were illegal, but magistrates did not stop them. Blood sports were still fashionable at this time. Gentlemen commonly hunted, but they might also attend cockfights and dogfights while in town (as well as in the country).
In the end, there does not appear to be a lot of information regarding what it was like for young men to enter society; the attention was on young women and efforts to find husbands for them. No doubt, there were young men who were intent on finding a wife, especially if they needed a rich lady to make up for their own poverty. We know that Darcy is not looking for the right woman to marry; he has already found her, even if they now seem worlds apart.
Lucy Marin developed a love for reading at a young age and whiled away many hours imagining how stories might continue or what would happen if there was a change in the circumstances faced by the protagonists. After reading her first Austen novel, a life-long ardent admiration was born. Lucy was introduced to the world of Austen variations after stumbling across one at a used bookstore while on holiday in London in 2002. This led to the discovery of the online world of Jane Austen fan fiction and, soon after, she picked up her pen and began to transfer the stories in her head to paper.
Lucy lives in Toronto, Canada surrounded by hundreds of books and a loving family. She teaches environmental studies, loves animals and trees and exploring the world around her. Her first novel, Being Mrs Darcy, was published in March 2020 and was followed by a novella, Mr Darcy: A Man with a Plan, in July 2020.
I’m not sure if you need it or not, but my social media accounts are:
· Facebook: Lucy Marin
· Twitter: @LucySMarin1
· Goodreads: Lucy S Marin
· Instagram: lucymarin613
So, that was it for this time around! I hope you all will rush to get this book at amazon and the other options to buy ebooks. Since the book is VERY good! So, for now, cheerio!
Hello hello All and welcome back to Interestsofajaneaustengirl, and this time around I am pleased to welcome back an author, who now a days have returned several times to my blog, to present new books, and where I have reviewed. But I will let Jayne herself present her new book.
Hello Dear Janeites, it is a pleasure to be back at Interests Of A Jane Austen Girlto share more details of my new release, Five Daughters Out At Once.
This tale deviates from canon before the story has even begun – the story opens with Mr. Bingley electing not to rent Netherfield, as the village of Meryton is only just out of mourning for several inhabitants who were lost in a fire at the assembly rooms. Among the victims was Mr. Bennet, though after a year Mrs. Bennet and her girls have yet to be thrown in the hedgerows by the conspicuously missing Mr. Collins. Mrs. Bennet has pinned her hopes on the rumors of wealthy gentlemen settling at Netherfield, with a regiment of the militia soon to follow, though this tale will soon take an unexpected twist…
There was a tap on the door of what Elizabeth Bennet still considered to be her father’s study, though it had been over a year since he had last sat in the chair she now occupied. Elizabeth felt her body go rigid as she prepared to receive her share of her mother’s solicitude; the house had been in uproar all day, for the monthly assemblies were to resume tonight, and Mrs. Bennet insisted that all five of her daughters would be in attendance.
It was a pleasant surprise for Elizabeth when her older sister Jane peeked into the room, lingering in the doorway for a moment before she slipped inside and carefully closed the door. Elizabeth set down her pen, smiling wistfully as Jane placed a small vase of daisies on the great oak desk and then sat down on her favorite shabby old chair, her messy blonde hair glowing like a halo in the sunlight that poured in from the wide front windows. “I hope I do not interrupt you, Lizzy.”
Elizabeth attempted a playful roll of her eyes. “You do, but it does not follow that the interruption is an unpleasant one. In truth, I quite need some distraction. It is rent day, and I have been at it since dawn.”
Jane sighed and slumped back against her chair, a gesture Elizabeth unconsciously mimicked. “Oh, yes – I had forgotten. I hope the tenants have not given you too much trouble.”
“No more than usual,” Elizabeth replied. This was the fifth quarter day that had passed since she had assumed this duty of her father’s; even when tempered by Jane’s sweetness, Elizabeth’s approach to estate matters was apparently more vigorous than Mr. Bennet’s had ever been, and the tenant farmers and other laborers at Longbourn had not all welcomed the change. “Mr. Perkins has still not forgiven us the iniquitous crime of being female, though I daresay he shall miss me if Mr. Collins ever appears to claim what is his; surely he would expect Mr. Perkins to pay his rent in full and on time.”
“Pray do not speak of it, Lizzy!”
Elizabeth offered her sister a thin smile. For over a year now, the six women at Longbourn had lived with the prospect of eviction constantly hanging over their heads; after the fire they had written to their late father’s cousin and heir, and in thirteen months they had heard nary a word from the stranger who might at any time he chose completely upend their lives. In the time that Jane and Elizabeth had spent shouldering their father’s responsibilities and holding their shattered family together, the looming spectre of Mr. Collins had grown more distant in their minds – recalling the threat so bluntly was jarring, especially on a day that already promised enough distress.
But it was not the mention of Mr. Collins that bothered Jane – she crossed the room and looked down at the account book. She had always been better at sums than Elizabeth, though Mary was showing such progress that she might surpass them both in time. Jane was certainly the brains of the household finance, though her natural reserve often obliged Elizabeth to enforce their budgetary restrictions. “Poor Mrs. Perkins – I know it is so hard for her, but they only paid half at Midsummer.”
“Yes, but look here,” Elizabeth said, her hand smearing through fresh ink as she pointed out a few hastily scribbled figures. “The field that Charlotte sold us to pay Maria’s dowry will bring in more than enough extra to cover it. Mrs. Perkins says they will send for her nephew to help with the harvest. If we can make it another year, the returns shall be well worth it.”
“And Mr. Perkins agreed to try the new techniques you wish to implement?”
“He took the book I brought over to loan him, though there was a brief moment when I thought he should like to throw it at me,” Elizabeth said with a rueful laugh.
“Surely not!” Jane shook her head and laughed gently, making a few corrections to the columns in the ledger as Elizabeth recounted what she had collected, placed the funds in the lock-box, and returned the key to its hiding place. “You must warn Mamma about her spending again.”
This remark was punctuated by some shouts from upstairs – their mother was calling for their faithful housekeeper Mrs. Hill, and by the sound of the commotion that followed, Elizabeth presumed that preparations for the evening were well underway. The ensuing shrieks about gloves made Jane wince, before smiling wryly at Elizabeth. “Mary picked the last of the blackberries today – Mamma must be beside herself.”
Elizabeth laughed. “Poor Mary! Her stained fingers may disgrace us all – I am sure Lydia had expected all the pleasure of that distinction.” The two sisters shared a knowing look – they had managed to curtail their mother’s spending somewhat, but they could not dissuade her from allowing their youngest sister, who was only fifteen, from having her share of society now that the family was out of mourning.
“Poor Lydia,” Jane sighed. “I am sure she would not be so wild if we had not been so very dull here this past year – of course it was right and proper that we should be thus – but I daresay you could not have countenanced such restrictions at her age, either.”
“No, I suppose not,” Elizabeth admitted, her smile beginning to sour. “I can scarcely countenance what this evening shall bring.” She realized her mistake at once, for Jane knitted her brow, her expression collapsing into thinly veiled despair. “Oh, Jane! I am so sorry – I know it must be a thousand times harder for you.”
Jane forced a smile but did not meet her sister’s eye. Elizabeth knew the loss of Sir Peter Mowbray still haunted Jane – they would have been married just a fortnight after the fire, had he survived it, and what a splendid love match it would have been. The heartbreak of all five daughters in the family, at the loss of their father, had only been one half of Jane’s misery at the time, and though her natural serenity belied an inner strength she had poured into their household work, the pain still showed in her eyes. That Jane must shed her mourning greys and don new finery with the rest of the sisters as they all returned to the newly restored scene of such tragedy to make merry tonight was the height of injustice, in Elizabeth’s mind.
And yet, for all the time she spent buried in estate matters, she could well understand her mother’s desperation. Elizabeth knew it was unlikely they should get away with staying at Longbourn forever – every quarter that passed, every little sum she tucked away for their future was a small miracle. The support of all the village, too, was something to be marveled at – sympathy and long-standing acquaintance and respect had garnered the Bennet women a modicum of tolerance and cooperation for uncommon, even unlawful sort of existence at Longbourn, but always buried just below the surface was a broad awareness that it could not last.
Jane let out a shaky breath, her fingers softly curling around Elizabeth’s. “Oh Lizzy, I am not ready. I am sure I shall be looking out for Peter every moment, tonight, but I know Mamma quite depends upon me – I cannot let her down.”
There had been a time when Elizabeth had laughed at her mother’s fits of nerves and matrimonial obsession, but she could do so no longer, with their situation so precarious. “Perhaps it shall be a fine thing, after all, for Lydia to be coming out so young. You are still the prettiest of us, Jane, but I am sure Lydia and Kitty shall do well. Let us pin our hopes on them, in that quarter, for Heaven knows you and I do enough already – I cannot bear to think of you forcing yourself to… to….” Elizabeth sighed and shook her head in frustration.
“Bear it we must,” Jane said with practiced resignation. “Even Mamma says she would remarry if she could – if she had not been scarred from her burns, a woman not yet forty might find a handsome widower. If she could think of such a thing after more than twenty years with Papa, surely it must be terribly selfish of me to balk at the idea of… Mamma says Netherfield is to be let at last, you know. A large party of gentlemen, according to Mrs. Long – she expects them to be in attendance tonight. And Mrs. Goulding said that there is to be a regiment of the militia coming to quarter here next month.”
“So much the better for Kitty and Lydia,” Elizabeth replied, arching an eyebrow at Jane. “Surely they shall not disappoint Mamma’s hopes; perhaps it will be enough.”
In the end, Mrs. Bennet’s hopes were utterly dashed indeed, though not by any of her daughters. Both reports were proven false almost as soon as the ladies arrived at the assembly that evening. After all her dear girls had suffered, and as bravely as they had rallied their spirits to rejoin society, the thin hope Mrs. Bennet had come to view as their last chance was cruelly torn away when the truth of the matter began to circulate. Both the gentlemen who had toured Netherfield, and Colonel Forster’s regiment, had heard the sad history of Meryton and resolved to settle elsewhere.
The widow supposed it would be thus with any other prospects for her daughters; she scarcely had time to repeat her lamentations to anyone at the assembly who would hear them, before the realization sank in fully, shook her to her core, and triggered a fit of hysterics from which she did not recover. Tragedy had once again struck in Meryton, and the five bereaved Bennet sisters were not the only ladies in the village to believe they should never dance again.
Surely things will be getting better soon, right? Stay tuned for more excerpts and more chances to enter the giveaway!
As many of you may remember, Jayne has written several Austen related variations so far, including “Madness in Meryton” which I reviewed here on Interest of a Jane Austen girl in July of 2020! So I thought you could all do with a little look back into a Jayne Bamber book, according to my opinion 😃 Enjoy! And if you don’t need the reminder, then you are all welcome to skip to the end, and hope to see you next time!
My Review of “Madness in Meryton”
In this JAFF variation, P&P meets Groundhog Day. On Market Day in Meryton, the most peculiar thing happens to Elizabeth Bennet, the light strikes the middle of the square, which is weird in itself on a cloudless day. Elizabeth buys a necklace during the market Day.
Next morning another peculiar thing happens, namely that Elizabeth wakes in bed with Mary, even if she went to bed alongside Jane. And when she goes into her room, Jane remarks that she is looking forward to Market Day. Only Market Day was the day before! During the day, Elizabeth tries to change several small things, which makes the day more pleasant.
I was dumbfounded by the plot at this point and wondered what Jayne was up to with this plot since it was a little mad.
After a pleasant day, with minor annoyances during the day, and foolishness from her family, Elizabeth goes to bed with Jane again. And yet again she woke up with Mary and her elbow in her face, – and yet again it is Market Day, and Elizabeth decides to have a bit of fun of her family, including Mr Collins, which makes quite a bit of trouble.
Soon Darcy and Colonel Richard Fitzwilliam is included in the returning market day. Several characters run amok during the repeated day, and several unforeseen events take place. Truly madness, in the best sense! And add Wickham, Miss Bingley and Georgiana Darcy into the mix.
The time loop in the story was brilliantly plotted and executed as well, but what madness this plot let me through! Absolutely loved the idea of how the repeated day could lead to different outcomes, – and what madness it leads to!
And of course, Darcy and Elizabeth are dancing around each other. They fall in love, during this repeated day… but will it be a Happily Ever After? I will let you, dear readers decide that.
My original post of this was to be full of my earlier opinions and reviews of Jayne’s works alongside of the new book presentation, but this way seemed better. So I’ll wish you all good luck in the giveaway, and hope you buy the latest book of Jayne Bamber’s. So for now, I’ll be saying “See you soon.”
Hello All, and welcome back! I wish to welcome Gailie Caress and her book, “Fearful Symmetry” which is a P&P variation. I hope everyone is safe, and takes care during this pandemic, and I hope for my readers in America are okay after the horrid snowstorms and powerloss lately.
REVIEW OF THE BOOK;FEARFUL SYMMETRY
The book starts with a shout of “FIRE!” fire at Longbourn! I seriously broke out in gooseflesh! Darcy, of course, flies to the rescue, alongside all men from Netherfield. At Longbourn Lydia and Mrs, Bennet has shrieked all out of the house, but damn I nearly fell into pieces when Lizzie discovers that one of her sisters are missing outside of the burning Longbourn, namely Kitty, and runs into the burning home to find her younger sister! Which elder sister would not fall to pieces if one sister was missing in a fire!?! But luckily Darcy is hot on her heels and gets both sisters out of the building, injured but alive.
From there the drama unfolds as the Bennets lives at Netherfield, while they recover and takes stock of their new situation, I simply couldn’t help but be disgusted with Collins when he arrives, on the day after the fire and demands to live there. But Darcy quickly charmed me as a reader, and of course, the stay at Netherfield gives Bingley and Jane the chance to find their HEA. But sadly, one of my favourite characters took a dip in my liking, namely Mr Bennet. he didn’t give Elizabeth and Mary the acknowledgement they deserve as they help restore Longbourn – and that made me quite annoyed with Mr Bennet.
One part of the book which made me raise an eyebrow of interest was the visit of Mrs Jamieson to Darcy house in London since Lizzie are captured at Darcy’s London house during a visit to Georgiana. Especially, when Mrs Jamieson’s maid starts to read the hands of Lizzie and Georgie, especially as the title suddenly made sense. But I will not reveal too much, just that something makes sense.
During the expected visit to Kent for Elizabeth, my toes curled in expectations of the horrible proposal, but slowly I relaxed. During the book, Georgiana and Elizabeth are writing together. Georgiana helps the Bennet’s through her correspondence. Soon Lady Catherine makes a nuisance of herself, especially as Elizabeth are quite emotional during the book, but it made sense after all she has been through. By the end of the book, I was ready to collapse in tears and happiness. All in all, a much-enjoyed book!
GREETING FROM THE AUTHOR;
Sophia, I am so honored that you offered to review my story, Fearful Symmetry! I’m aware that I’m very much still in my growing stages as an author, so this kind of creative support and feedback from a discerning reader like you is so invaluable.
Since this is my *very first* full-length novel for publication, I have been calling myself a “baby novelist.” And I really am: most of my writing up to this point has been in a fact-based, journalistic or academic style that centered around my college English major or my career path around communications and marketing for nonprofits. But I’ve always had that rather stubborn “creative bent”, so this story felt like such a treat to write. It came into my mind and life at a time when I really needed the “safety net” of Jane Austen’s fictional world to build a story that would explore some difficult lessons I was learning in the real world. I think that for most of us, today’s world still feels like an uncertain and often unsafe place, so an escape into a familiar storyline that still holds the expectation of a happy ending can be healing and hope-restoring. I hope my new twist on P&P still offers that little gift of hope for readers like you.
Thank you again for taking such time and care to give us your thoughtful response to my book!
Darcy had never known such a woman, one who could rush into an inferno and emerge as bold and brilliant as burnished brass, bright as any mirror. FITZWILLIAM DARCY HAD PLANNED TO LEAVE NETHERFIELD PARK and all thoughts of the enchanting Miss Elizabeth Bennet behind him—until one night when he saw smoke rising from Longbourn and realised she was in peril. ELIZABETH BENNET FOUND MR DARCY ARROGANT AND INSUFERABLE right up until he became her hero, pulling her and her sister from the fire that devastated their home, and could have claimed both of their lives. Seeing how he put his own life at risk to pull her from the fire, how could she help but change her opinion of him? THROWN TOGETHER AGAIN in the refuge offered at Netherfield, Darcy and Elizabeth’s unexpected bond gains strength. But disapproval, debts, and doubts all arise when the costs in time and expense involved in rebuilding Longbourn threaten to widen the gulf in standing between Elizabeth and Darcy in the eyes of society. Amidst these perplexities of destruction and decorum, can love’s courage overcome calamity?
Gailie Ruth Caress, debut author of Fearful Symmetry: A Pride & Prejudice Variation, never dreamed of writing a novel in her own pleasure-reading genre when she was a no-nonsense, 4.0-chasing English major who won prizes for her academic essays in college. Forced to readily adapt after a pivotal loss in early adulthood, she became a dabbler in many forms of expression and relationship-building–from opera and ballroom dance to nonprofit education and mentoring. And yet, she *actually committed* mid-Pandemic to the challenge of completing the manuscript of the story that kept her up at night, driven by a need to borrow from the courageous vulnerability of her favorite Jane Austen couple in a landscape transformed by disaster.
Her everyday life continues to hold unexpected adventures. Her two small boys and a duo of sassy tabby cats run wild on the Illinois prairie around a parsonage, where they keep her busy alongside rural community and ministry work with her pastor-husband.
Hello All, yesterday I got a wonderful gift through my door from my first guests here on my blog, seven years ago, namely Cass Grafton and her co-author Ada Bright. They published a new book, yesterday, namely, “Mr. Darcy’s Persuasion.” Let me just say, that I sat down right there and then, and started reading from the point where Cass Grafton and Ada Bright had left us readers in December, when they posted several chapters of the book on their blogs. So, I will welcome back Cass Grafton and Ada Bright, and congratulations on your new book. Since these two ladies were some of my first guests here, I promised to review the book and here it is. Enjoy!
“Mr Darcy’s Persuasion“
As I opened the cover of this gorgeous new book, I knew I would love it! And yeah I was so right! Would I sigh, curse and laugh? Yeah more than!
The plot, well takes place mostly in Somersetshire in the home of the Elliots of Kellynch Hall from Austen’s Persuasion. Into the mix Darcy and Georgiana Darcy are introduced, wintering in South England due to Georgiana recovering from a severe case of cold.
Soon Elizabeth Bennet and Anne Elliot returns from Hertfordshire and on goes the drama! After reading for 5 minutes straight I was completely back into the plot which I had followed during the winter on Cass Grafton’s blog.
Since this is a true variation, we also got to know Anne Elliott and Captain Wentworth, who appears, part way through the plot! And an old flame is rekindled and has hope for the future.
As the plot thickened I was more and more inclined to curse the two ladies who wrote this book, but damn they know just how to get a reader to continue to read even if it ends up being 2am in the morning! Suddenly Darcy are entangled into a web and so goes the wild chase to get him out and to get him onto the right track.
Meanwhile has Elizabeth realised her mistaken view of Darcy and understands the trouble of Wickham and what harm he had left on Georgiana.
And yet again when the plot finally looked like it would come together, the two brilliant ladies did a 180 again with the plot and twisted it further! I seriously sat up and nearly screamed at the book “Seriously?! You have got to be kidding me! Of course that would happen!”
As the ending neared I was laughing myself hoarse at the hilarity which happens during the last 15-20 pages, it was beyond brilliant and utterly hilarious 🤣 Even now after finishing the book, I have to say, the plot is SO typical Ada and Cass! But something I also noted was how much their combined writing has the touch of Austen’s own writing style, and with some of their antics I will definitely call them the modern Austen’s of variation writing.
This book is available on Amazon and can be read FREE on Kindle Unlimited.
I will leave you all here, since I have another blog entry today! *giggles* See you later!
Interestsofajaneaustengirl proudly presents; “Came a flight gently” book III in Leigh Dreyer’s modern P&P variation. It is nearly 3 years since I wrote my review on book I, and I was vastly pleased to be approached by Leigh again to read and review her third and last book in her modern series of P&P.
As I opened the cover of Leigh’s third book in the series, I knew I was at Pemberley, and still I got the feeling of a Wine Chatéau in California, even if I was at the other end of the country, near New York City. It was nice to be back with Darcy, Lizzie, Georgie, the Fitzwilliams and the Bennets. Though I had to get used to the modern setting for a while, it was still delightful to be back with the familiar cast of characters Leigh had written in the first and second book. As I delved into the book, I instantly knew where book two had left me, and it was easy to find the rhythm of the book and good to see Elizabeth settle at Pemberley, and start to learn the ropes of the Darcy family firm, Pemberley Wines. Mrs Reynolds was a godsend and quite a side character, in this the final instalment of the series, and even she had a happy ending in store.
But as the book continued, I knew that Elizabeth wanted to fly again, and boy did she get flying! Darcy bought her a small plane and their mechanic Steve Weston, and yeah, I do mean THAT Weston helped her to get her wings. Leigh used several very familiar characters, for the board of Pemberley Wines, several of them are non-friendlies to Elizabeth. Just a hint, think of Austen’s other books and non-friendly characters. But also many new friends appear, maybe even a special meeting for Elizabeth appears halfway through.
Soon both Darcy’s are flying all over America, and several Fitzwilliam’s, De Bough’s, Bingley’s and Bennet’s appear inside the story and makes both trouble, and delight for our beloved couple. Georgiana also makes an appearance in the book, before she starts her music education at Juilliard’s in New York – soon Elizabeth learns of racing in smaller flights in Reno and let’s say it; YEAH she gets to fly, race and win. Though the open-ended ending nearly made me scream out in frustration, it ended how it was supposed to, – with the future still ahead of our beloved couple.
Leigh’s descriptions and experience stand her in good stead through her three books, both in the military works, Texas looks and feels, and how the Bennet family would be in the modern world of a small town in Texas. I also think that Leigh has drawn on her own experiences with moving around due to postings. This three-book series has captured my heart through her heartwarming way of writing, and her witty conversation between her characters. I can only congratulate Leigh on an ending well done!
EXCERPT FROM CHAPTER 5!
“How’d you find this place?” he asked as he sat down with a cup of coffee.
“Mrs. Reynolds sent me down.”
“I don’t need any help. I’m fifty-nine, not seventy-nine, for heaven’s sake. I can handle the airplane.”
Elizabeth stifled a smile with her cup. “Maybe she thought with two you’d like an assistant.”
“We’ve had two planes before. When Will and Richard were learning to fly, we had a Citabria and the Bonanza. Mr. Darcy and I taught them. Will’s become a great little pilot, though I shouldn’t let him hear me call him little.” Chuckling, the mechanic continued. “No, not Mr. F-22 fighter pilot.” He straightened himself. “Of course, it’s not an A-10. Now, I think he just got done flying ‘38s.”
“Did you fly in the service?” Elizabeth asked, taking a sip.
“Yep, F-111s, two tours, T-37s in between, A-10s and T-38A and Cs. Around forty-three hundred hours. But what I’m most proud of is over two thousand instructor hours.”
“How’d you become a mechanic?”
“Retired from the service. Got into some financial trouble with my ex-wife. Mr. Darcy, Will’s dad, hired me as an assistant mechanic. I apprenticed for a year, then took over when the other retired.” He looked at her over his glasses. “You aren’t in trouble, are you?”
“No, no.” Elizabeth laughed.
“By the way, I’m Steve Weston,” he said, reaching out his hand.
“Elizabeth Ben—I mean—Elizabeth Darcy.”
“You one of their cousins or something?”
“Or something,” answered Elizabeth, not wanting to ruin the moment.
“Well, hot chocolate’s done. The salt’s probably worked so we have no excuse.”
They donned their gloves again and went back to the doors. The salt had worked and the ice on the doors only required a little persuasion with the sledgehammer. Elizabeth felt a thrill run through her with the physical labor and banging the ice off the door. It’s been too long since I’ve felt useful. After several minutes of work, the large doors creaked open, filling the warmer hangar with cold air.
“We need to work quick,” Mr. Weston called loudly to her from the other side of the hangar. “The block was heated, and it’s been in the hangar, but we need to get the runup done before it cools.”
The aircraft positioned and chocked, Mr. Weston opened the back door and started the engine to let it warm and cycle the propeller. Once shut down, he motioned over to Elizabeth and showed her where to look for leaks. When they found none, they closed the hangar doors and turned up the heater. It was six when they got all the covers put on the plane and it was ready to fly again another day.
“What can you tell me about the Lancair?” she asked, pointing to the candy apple red plane next to Darcy’s Bonanza.
“Not much,” Mr. Weston said as he filed various tools away into their places. “A friend of mine flew it in for Will a couple weeks ago on a ferry permit. The builder did a good job but didn’t fly it. I’ve got the paperwork and books on it. I’ve got to do a condition check and go through all the systems. It’ll take about two months. It has better technology than the Bonanza, well at least newer, composite fuselage, fuel injection. Updated glass cockpit inside. Comfortable, stable, fast, but you have to pay attention more than a 172. You got any time?”
She let her hand glide along the smooth painted wing as she listened. “I’ve my private license and about seventy hours in the T-6.”
“Tailwheel time, eh?”
“Uh, no. The new T-6. I was in the Air Force.”
She shifted uncomfortably as he examined at her. She could practically see the questions running through his mind, though he had not paused his work.
“Yeah, I had a mishap and was medically retired.”
“Hmm, you’ll have to tell me about it sometime. I worked as a safety for a bit, so I enjoy hearing about those things.”
After a pause, Elizabeth summoned the courage to ask: “Mr. Weston, do you still teach?”
“Flying or mechanics?”
“Flying is what I’m most interested in at the moment. I think I would like to get my commercial and become a CFI.”
“Can you afford it? The 172 down the road rents for a hundred and fifty dollars an hour.”
“I think so—my husband has a pretty good gig, and he’s a pilot, too, so I’m sure he’ll be supportive.”
“You’re young. How long have you been married?”
“Almost four months.”
“It will take some time away from him.”
“I think he’ll be okay with it.”
“Huh, let me check with the boss. I don’t think he’d be upset. He just moved back so hopefully no more random trips across the country. Though, with more consistent flying, he might need me around a little more often than in the past.”
“How much will you charge to instruct?” Mr. Weston laughed, a jolly sort of chuckle that Elizabeth found appealing, contrasting his initial porcupine-like personality. He seemed a teddy bear sort of person, one who was initially gruff, but quite warm once he welcomed you to his circle of trust.
“You live near here?”
A smile crossed her face, and she said, “Pretty close.”
“How about you come clean and sweep the hangar, help me with the aircraft, and bring me donuts once a week?”
As she reached out her hand to make the deal, an artic blast came whooshing through the door. Both of them yelled, “Come in or go out, but shut the door!” Shaking hands, they grinned at each other.
“All right. I’ll get it!” They heard as the door slammed shut.
Will Darcy stepped into the hangar. He looked between Elizabeth and Mr. Weston and gave a half-smile.
“Hello, Mr. Weston. How’s the Bonanza?”
“She’s great. Fresh oil. Run up and leak check done. Ready to go again. You put twenty-five hours on her in two months. She’s not flown that much since your dad flew her on business.”
“I know, it got busy there for a while.”
“Will, Mrs. Reynolds sent Elizabeth down for some work.”
Will raised an eyebrow at Elizabeth. “She did, did she? Mrs. Reynolds does a good job making sure everyone stays busy and has the help they need.” Darcy bowed to Elizabeth. “Hello, madam. Captain William Darcy at your service.”
“Pleasure to make your acquaintance, kind sir.” Elizabeth held Will’s outstretched hand and curtsied. Neither could keep a straight face and burst out laughing.
Steve Weston looked confused.
“Mr. Weston, may I introduce my husband, Captain William Darcy.” She elbowed Darcy, teasing him about their courtly introduction.
Mr. Weston shook his head and narrowed his eyes at her. “Cousin or something—you had me going. Why didn’t you say something? Oh no. And I had you chopping ice, grabbing tools—”
Elizabeth interrupted. “I was having such a good time, doing something, learning something, I didn’t want to spoil it.”
“I should have thought to introduce both of you before now,” said Darcy. “Mr. Weston was on the board until a few years ago when his son, Frank, took his place.”
Weston smiled sheepishly. “I’ll teach you anytime you want after the thaw, and you’re welcome to stop by anytime to learn something.”
Elizabeth grinned. “I hope our deal’s still on then. I’ll bring the donuts! When do you want me here?”
Leigh Dreyer is a huge fan of Jane Austen variations and the JAFF community. She is blessed to have multi-generational military connections through herself and her husband, who she met in pilot training. She often describes her formative years in this way: “You know the ‘Great Balls of Fire’ scene in Top Gun (Goose, you big stud!) when Goose and Meg Ryan have their kid on the piano? I was that kid.” Leigh lives with her pilot husband, a plane-obsessed son, a daughter who was a pink pilot for Halloween, and a one-year-old son who is so used to F-16 noise, he does not even startle to sonic booms.
Paul Trockner was an Air Force fighter pilot for twenty-eight years. He flew the F-111, T-37, A-10, and T-38. He currently teaches fighter pilots using simulator instruction. He has been happily married for thirty-six years to his lovely wife Elizabeth. Leigh is the oldest of his five children.
Hello all, now again from my desk comes a presentation of a new book. This book is from yet another returning author; Riana Everly. In the passing months, Riana has been writing murder mysteries within the world of Austen. The first was, “The death of a clergyman.” which is still waiting on my desk, alongside several others. pulls an embarrassed face This time it is Highbury’s turn to have a murder, and luckily, Mary is on hand to investigate.
When political chaos in London forces Mary Bennet to take refuge in the picturesque town of Highbury, Surrey, she quickly finds herself safe among friends. Emma Woodhouse welcomes her as a guest at Hartfield, Jane Fairfax is delighted by her love of music, and Frank Churchill can’t stop flirting with her. But it is not long before Mary starts to suspect that beneath the charming surface, Highbury hides some dark secrets.
Alexander Lyons is sent to Surrey on an investigation, and at his friend Darcy’s request, heads to Highbury to make certain Mary is comfortable and safe. But no sooner does he arrive than one local man dies, and then another!
Soon Alexander and Mary are thrust into the middle of a baffling series of deaths. Are they accidents? Or is there a very clever murderer hiding in their midst? And can they put their personal differences aside in time to prevent yet another death in Highbury?
Piano Music in history;
Riana and I have several interests in common, one of them is Music, so Riana has written about music, and piano duets especially, which is also a common element in this book. I will leave you all in Riana’s capable musical hands. Welcome back, Riana!
Thanks so much, Sophia, for letting me visit your lovely blog today. I always enjoy stopping by here to chat about what I’m up to and what I’ve been writing. Today I want to talk a bit about my newest release, Death in Highbury: An Emma Mystery, and more specifically, piano duets.
How does an Austen-inspired mystery relate to piano duets? Let me explain. In the first mystery in this series, Mary Bennet stayed at home to solve the mystery of her cousin Mr. Collins’ death. Now, in her second adventure, she is in Highbury, Surrey, the setting for Jane Austen’s Emma.
Mary stays with Emma Woodhouse, and soon meets the rest of Highbury society, including Jane Fairfax. Jane is a gifted musician and has recently been given a fine pianoforte, and when she learns that Mary plays as well, Jane invites Mary over to play duets with her.
The first known duets for two people at one keyboard date from around 1600, but the musical form did not become popular until the late 18th century. For one thing, the close physical proximity of the players was deemed to be inappropriate, and for another, women’s wide skirts made sitting next to each other a challenge. But young Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) and his sister played duets in public in London in 1764-5, and later wrote four sonatas for one piano, four hands.
But the piano duet wasn’t just for performing musicians. Before the age of audio recording, the only way to hear music was either to go to a concert or to play it yourself at home. Arrangements of popular songs were often found in people’s personal sheet music collections, and arrangements of grander pieces, like symphonies, were also sought after. Music was widely performed at home by both serious proficient pianists and competent amateurs.
So what would Mary and Jane Fairfax have played? They might have sat down to work through the Mozart sonatas. They also might have played through Muzio Clementi’s sonatas. Clementi (1752-1832) was an Italian-born composer who lived much of his life in England. Although his fame reached far beyond England’s borders during his lifetime, his popularity has waned a bit over the last 100 years or so. Still, his music is always melodic and charming and most young piano students have played his sonatinas.
Here is his Sonata No.2 in C major for piano duet.
And here is the first page of Beethoven’s Sonata for Piano Four Hands, Op. 6 (1796-97). If you play at all, you can how this is approachable for a competent amateur. It does get more difficult, but it’s certainly something Mary and Jane could play with enjoyment for both themselves and anyone listening.
I personally think this sounds fascinating, since I do not play, I am more of a writer and singer myself. But I have grown up in a classical home, so I grew up on Mozart, Vivaldi and a mix of Disney and other children genre music, later on in my teens and early twenties Beethoven, Mozart, John Williams, Silvestri, Vivaldi, Tchaikovsky and several others, became the most listened to genre for me, and I do enjoy it and I personally love music.
They had arrived at the top of the stairs and Emma gave a sharp knock at the door, which was answered almost at once. The small party was invited in by the serving girl and led through a very small vestibule to a cosy sitting room, made even cosier by the presence of an imposing pianoforte that occupied much of the room. It was a beautiful instrument, quite incongruous in this small and unprepossessing space.
The room, to Mary’s surprise, was quite full of company. Mrs. Bates sat at her knitting by the window, where the light was best, and Miss Bates and Miss Fairfax had risen from their seats at a small table near the quiet dark fireplace, in the company of none other than Frank Churchill! Once more, Mary observed the flitter of glances between Miss Woodhouse, Mr. Knightley, Miss Fairfax, and Mr. Churchill, that told of a tale far more complicated and involved than any of the parties to it seemed to acknowledge. In contrast, Harriet Smith’s expression was wistful and innocent, and she seemed quite apart in so many ways from the subtle undercurrents that suffused the small parlour.
Sounding embarrassed to break the moment of silence that ensued, Harriet handed the basket to Miss Bates. “Mrs. Goddard had extra food, some pies and preserves, and hoped you might help us by taking them before they turn.”
“How very kind, so obliging!” Miss Bates turned her nervous smile on the young visitor. “Yes, very kind indeed! Mother has been at her baking today, for all that she enjoys the activity so much, even if it is not what ladies ought to do, but it is a source of pleasure for her. Mr. and Mrs. Elton were by, so good of them to visit and talk of poor Mr. Abdy. I knew him when he worked for Father, of course, although that was many years ago and I had not spoken to him much after Father died and he went to live with his sons, but Mother was not able to go to the kitchens to bake. So kind of Mrs. Goddard to think of us. Let us see… oh, fruit tarts! Lovely. So lovely. Perhaps we can set them out with tea. Tea! Yes, please, let me see about calling for tea.”
“Miss Bennet,” Frank Churchill turned his smile upon her once more. “I could not keep myself away from the joy of hearing you at the keyboard. I do hope you do not mind. I have been helping Miss Fairfax sort through her music. Here is a set of marches by Mr. Beethoven, or this by Mr. Kozeluch, or look here, some sonatas by Mr. Mozart. Ladies, I rely on you to tell me which to set out.”
The morning passed quickly; Mary enjoyed Miss Fairfax’s quiet company and strove to match the other’s considerable skill at the keyboard, and the musical results were not unpleasing. The clock chimed noon, and then one, and at last, having played many notes and consumed several pieces of fruitcake and lavender biscuits, Mary and the rest of the party from Hartfield took their leave.
“Thank you, Miss Bennet, for lending me your skills,” Miss Fairfax said as they departed. “I would be very pleased should you wish to return tomorrow if you have time before the ball, or the day after.”
This pleased Mary. “If I am still in town, the pleasure would be my own.” She dropped a curtsey to her hosts and thanked Miss Bates and Mrs. Bates and followed her new friends down the stairs to the street.
Now, time for the giveaway!! Yay!
I am giving away five eBooks worldwide over the course of this blog tour, chosen randomly from people who enter. To enter, please use the Rafflecopter link or widget. If you don’t like Rafflecopter, you can still enter. Just send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) saying so, and I’ll add your name to the list for the draw. The giveaway will close at 12am EST on February 27, 2021.
Riana Everly was born in South Africa, but has called Canada home since she was eight years old. She has a Master’s degree in Medieval Studies and is trained as a classical musician, specialising in Baroque and early Classical music. She first encountered Jane Austen when her father handed her a copy of Emma at age 11, and has never looked back.
Riana now lives in Toronto with her family. When she is not writing, she can often be found playing string quartets with friends, biking around the beautiful province of Ontario with her husband, trying to improve her photography, thinking about what to make for dinner, and, of course, reading!
So, that is it for this time around! I am working or reading as fast as possible through several books still, but I do promise at some point, I hope soon I will present my reviews for Riana’s two murder mysteries, and a few others. So, therefore for now, I will say, see you soon, dear readers.